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The Sunday Philosophy Club: An Isabel Dalhousie Mystery | [Alexander McCall Smith]

The Sunday Philosophy Club: An Isabel Dalhousie Mystery

New York Times best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith, winner of the first-ever Saga Award for Wit, has entertained millions with his beloved No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency mysteries. Now this phenomenally popular author introduces a fresh series, brimming with the charm and humor his stable of dedicated fans can't get enough of.
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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Alexander McCall Smith, winner of the first-ever Saga Award for Wit, has entertained millions with his beloved No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency mysteries. Now this phenomenally popular author introduces a fresh series, brimming with the charm and humor his stable of dedicated fans can't get enough of.

Isabel Dalhousie is a philosopher by training, and an amateur sleuth by choice. When a young man falls from a balcony to his death, Isabel's curiosity is aroused. She does not believe the fall was an accident, and she is determined to root out the truth. With a little help from some friends (her housekeeper, her niece, and her niece's rather attractive ex-boyfriend), Isabel plunges into the shady business community of Edinburgh to find some answers.

With its distinctive characters and captivating suspense, The Sunday Philosophy Club further cements McCall Smith's status as one of today's most imaginative and enjoyable authors.

©2004 Alexander McCall Smith; (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"A world of kindness, gentility and creature comforts...the literary equivalent of herbal tea and a cozy fire." (The New York Times)
"Utterly enchanting....It is impossible to come away from an Alexander McCall Smith 'mystery' novel without a smile on the lips and warm fuzzies in the heart." (Chicago Sun-Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (467 )
5 star
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3.6 (185 )
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4.2 (191 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 06-06-08
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 06-06-08

    Narrative makes the world go round.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not Number One Ladies Detective Agency!"

    This is a well-narrated, gentle tale told in very good prose but, if the SETTING of Number One Ladies Detective Agency is important to you as it is to me, you may not enjoy "The Sunday Philosophy Club" as much. The humourous obsevations on human nature are similar, however.

    I thought I would like a tale of a Scottish academic/sleuth more since I love British literary "campus comedies," but I did not.

    If you are tempted to try this series, though, then the audio format might be more pleasing than print due to the pleasant narration that suited the text very well.

    As another reviewer said, this listen left a smile on my face, but for me, I'm not sure it was worth the time and download.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joanne Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada 10-25-07
    Joanne Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada 10-25-07 Member Since 2012

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wee bit of puzzlement"

    I have been thoughly enjoying Alexander McCall Smith's No. 1 Ladies series; when suddenly I ran out of books. Decided to try The first in the Philosophy Club series. Again in the style of what I have seen of this author, far more a drama than a real mystery. More a wee bit of puzzlement than an edge of your seat who done it. However that said, I have found all Smiths' titles so far to have fabulous character development and a comfortably easy listening flow that keeps me wanting more. I very much enjoyed the narrator of this title - and if readers choose this audio for no other reason than that; I highly recomend this audio version over the hard copy!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine M Phoenix, AZ, USA 12-31-04
    Catherine M Phoenix, AZ, USA 12-31-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "go back to the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency"

    I love McCall Smith's Ladies Detective Agency books and that's why I purchased this title. I was very disappointed in the book as a whole. There was not very much story to it and way too many philosophical ramblings. Also, I was not very interested into the forays about crossword puzzle clues. However, the narrator was excellent, the only saving point to the entire experience.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Augie Cornish, NH, USA 01-04-05
    Augie Cornish, NH, USA 01-04-05 Member Since 2004
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    "What does he do now?"

    I read The Number One Ladies Detective Agency and I was hooked. I read the next and the next and the next. When I was browsing in a bookstore and came upon the last, The Full Cupboard of Life on audio CD, I bought it immediately. It was even released before the print version, which astonished the bookseller. It was a total treat. A fine end to the series. The narrator cemented all that came before. Her voice, her pronunciation, her narration was music. When I think back through all those books it's hard to distinguish one from another. They were all pretty much the same. It wasn't the plot of each that mattered. It was Mma Ramotswe, Mr. JLB Matakoni. It was all the characters, the new and the renewed. It was Botswana. It was the feeling of it all that mattered most, and I would read the next one if it is written. I was curious then, when I read that the next one was actually going to be a whole new, totally different series. The Sunday Philosophy Club. It's not Botswana. It's not the same feeling transposed in a new place. It's. It's. It's boring. Totally. Totally, totally boring. So what's he to do? If he pays attention to the reviews, he knows of his own success with Botswana. He also knows of his readers' response to this new series. Should he go on anyway? What would you do? Maybe go back to what worked? Or plod on for whatever reason? Such a quandary he must be in.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angie Kansas City, MO, United States 03-21-06
    Angie Kansas City, MO, United States 03-21-06 Member Since 2010

    Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Charming"

    I have recently finished the #1 Ladies Detective Agency series and I was looking forward to starting this series. Isabel Dalhausie is as charming and engaging a character as Mma. Ramotswe in the #1 Ladies Detective Agency books. This narrator has done such a good job creating specific and distinct characters with her voice. I love her accent and she adds so much to the story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    melody333 11-10-05
    melody333 11-10-05

    melody333

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    "The Sunday Philosophy Club (Unabridged)"

    It was a delightful book and beautifully narrated. Isabel Dalhousie is a charming character and great observer of her environment; a younger Ms. Marple (Agatha Christie). As the editor of Applied Ethics, her character is always striving for the bigger questions than what appear to be at hand. The plot was carried down many avenues that all came together at the end.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danzer Indianapolis 10-17-04
    Danzer Indianapolis 10-17-04 Member Since 2001

    Danz

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    "Okay, but minor"

    I was disappointed in the mystery, and the attempt to meld it with philosophy didn't work for me. (For one thing, this Sunday Philosophy Club never meets that I can remember.) Every now and again the heroine stops and thinks about some ethical dilemma, but she comes to such quick conclusions that it's hard to think that the dilemmas were all that difficult. It's sort of like watching Dr. Phil-- I spent the whole book thinking, "Big deal... that's just common sense."

    On the other hand, the reader has a lovely Scots accent. It was a joy to listen to her narrate, and then use other Scots accents for secondary characters. Even if the mystery itself is pretty lame, you can't go wrong with this reader-- wonderful voice and accent.

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allison Cary, IL, United States 01-26-05
    Allison Cary, IL, United States 01-26-05
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    "Such potential!"

    I was enjoying this book so much, but it's like the author simply got sick of writing it and totally phoned in the last quarter! It has such potential. It could have been a great plot. Isabelle could have been a good character, but...alas, overall, you're left totally...unsatisfied. Not worth it.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jeanne WASHINGTON, DC, United States 12-07-07
    jeanne WASHINGTON, DC, United States 12-07-07 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "a pleasure!"

    adored it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara PLACITAS, NM, United States 10-27-04
    Barbara PLACITAS, NM, United States 10-27-04 Member Since 2011
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    "HUGE Disappointment"

    I have read and reread all of Alexander McCall Smith's books about Botswana and the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. I absolutely adored the series.
    So when his new book came out about Scotland, I thought it would be the same caliber. I bought the book and immediately downloaded it for listening. Tonight I finished the book and I want to warn other fans to avoid this book at all costs.
    First of all, the "Sunday Philosophy Club" is mentioned only briefly in the book and never meets. What is the point in the title???
    Secondly, since Isobel, the heroine, is a philosopher, over half of the book is about her philosophical musings about ethics. This book has no real plot or action.
    Finally, the murder, about which the entire book is based, is not a murder at all. Just an unfortunate accident. If I am giving away the plot, believe me, you haven't lost much.

    21 of 31 people found this review helpful

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